The effects of mindfulness as an intervention strategy for school-aged youth: a meta-analysis

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of mindfulness practices as an intervention for school-aged youth, by conducting a meta-analysis. A thorough review of the literature resulted in only seven studies that met the criteria for the meta-analysis and evaluated the effects of mindfulness programs on school-aged youth outcomes. The results revealed that mindfulness practices had a significant effect on the youth’s mental health, well-being and behavioral patterns. Of the ten outcome variables derived from all seven studies, two variables, self-compassion and emotional regulation, yielded high effect sizes. A high effect size for emotional regulation implies that being mindful has an impact on children’s ability to understand their feelings and emotions and regulate their behaviors in accordance to their correctly identified emotions. Implications for social work regarding this effect size include raising awareness within the community. Overall, youth’s participation in mindfulness programs yielded positive and healthy results, implicating the need for social work advocacy to ensure these programs are implemented at a higher rate within schools. This researcher recommends for future research to incorporate follow-up data to examine the extent to which these outcome variables are maintained over time by youth. This study also reveals the need for more experimental research to be conducted to strengthen the evidence base on the effectiveness of these programs amongst youth.